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Best Knee Brace – Buyers Guide and Reviews

By admin / February 6, 2017

Let's face it knee pain can really hold you back from your chosen activity whether it's a training run, basketball game or going for your first marathon wearing the best knee brace might just help get you over the line. Wearing a knee brace or knee support band can dramatically reduce pain and help you towards your fitness goals. The best knee brace for running should be a perfect fit and offer increased support to the knee and its supporting tendons and ligaments. Finding a good one to suit your particular situation is not always easy. That is why we have created a list of Best Knee Braces for running which is made up of best knee sleeves, best knee straps or best knee bands, and best hinged knee braces that should help you to choose the best knee brace for running.

Best Knee Brace

Training in any sport can place a huge demand on the knee and its supporting structures that's why it's important to choose the best knee support or best knee brace for running. There is a huge range of knee supports available and choosing the right one can be confusing, especially if you have a new injury and have never worn one before. Choosing the wrong brace may not only increase the recovery time of and injury it may also exacerbate it further, so the choice of knee support band should be more than just choosing one that offers instant pain reduction, choosing the best knee brace for running can improve recovery time.   Here is a quick summary of the different types of knee braces that are available:

Knee sleeves: offers simple support, warmth and general compression. Best for minor injuries.

Knee Braces: Usually wrap around and tightened via velcro straps, can be useful if the knee joint is swollen as the size can be adjusted to find a comfortable fit, also comes in open patella design.

Knee strap: also called knee band, patella straps or jumpers straps a knee strap is best suited to adding pressure to the patella tendon which can improve kneecap movement.

Hinged Knee Brace: Hinged braces allow for more lateral support of the knee which is suitable for a ligament injury, is available with open patella support also.

Magnetic Knee Brace:​ It is hard to know how reliable the science behind magnetic therapy truly is but anecdotal evidence has suggested they can increase blood flow to the affected area and can relieve some of the symptoms of arthritic joints. However we have decided not to list these types of knee braces in our review best knee brace review due to lack of evidence of the scientific claims that are made by the manufacturers.

Best Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves for clarification are not technically knee braces however they can offer great knee support if used in the correct way. Knee sleeves are a pretty common sight amongst runners, triathletes, crossfitters and general fitness enthusiasts. In general a knee sleeve should not be used to support any kind of serious injury, the are best used as a preventative measure. The best knee sleeves do offer some level of support due to the added compression around the knee, however the main benefit from that compression comes from the increase in blood flow to the knee joint and the addition of increased warmth of the knee. A knee sleeve should never be worn with the intention of adding support to an injured knee, the sleeve cannot offer enough lateral stability around the knee joint. Knee sleeves are best worn to aid in recovery after a hard training session and as a preventative measure against future injuries due to the increased blood flow. The best knee sleeve can't offer the same support as an acl knee brace but it can be used effectively for the prevention of minor injuries. A lot of knee support sleeves are made from neoprene, neoprene knee sleeves are usually thicker than some of the higher performance knee support sleeves and as such may not be suited to long distance events. 

Knee Support Buying Guide

Bauerfeind GenuTrain Knee Support Review

The creme de la creme of knee support the Bauerfeind GenuTrain Knee support sleeve is German made to the highest design and quality standards. Its one of the best knee brace for running.

The Bauerfeind GenuTrain knee support sleeve incorporates a silicon Omega pad that covers the knee cap adding evenly distributed compression whilst still maintaining full blood flow to the surrounding tissue. It features a three dimensional knit that gives great compression but at the same time allowing for maximum breathability and consistent temperature even when worn for extended periods of time. Joint stability is maximized and can help recovery times between injuries and also as a safety precaution during athletic events. It's probably the best knee sleeve available.

The GenuTrain comes in a huge range of sizes so finding the perfect fit should be easy.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Anatomically knitted
  • Graduated compresion
  • Medial and lateral stainless steel stays
  • Viscoelastic insert

Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve Review

The Elastic knee compression sleeve from Ultra Flex Athletics combines exception build quality from the latest materials with superior anti-slip performance.

The Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Compression sleeve should be suitable for all minor injuries and for just about any sport or activity. These knee sleeves have the added benefit of anti-slip silicone which should keep the sleeve in a secure and stable position on your leg whether running, at the gym or seated for long periods of time.

​The nylon and lycra blended construction gives a high durability finish that gives great comfort and flexibility around the knee joint even when worn for long periods of time. It is one of the top rated knee sleeves on Amazon and is great for any runner or sporting enthusiast looking for a bit of extra support/compression around the knee joint. Not quite as exceptional as the GenuTrain but still one of the best knee sleeve s available.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Four way stretch capability
  • Double silicon anti-slip wave
  • Lightweight

CopperJoint Copper Knee Sleeve Review

If you are looking for great compression, stabilization and release from knee pain from a knee sleeve then the CopperJoint Copper Knee Sleeve may well be for you.

The CopperJoint Copper knee brace is extremely comfortable, does not restrict movement, stays in place easily and has added anti-odour support.  The advanced odour reduction is due to the copper infused nylon used throughout the sleeve.  The fabric has superb moisture wicking properties and can be worn for long periods of time with little skin irritation. The high performance fabric also keeps the knee joint at an optimal temperature so as to promote blood flow to the area. 

One of the most popular and best knee sleeves available the copper knee sleeve is available in a large range of sizes so there should be a perfect fitting sleeve out there for almost anyone regardless of their thigh shape or size. 

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Thermal Stabilizer
  • Double silicon anti-slip wave
  • Anti-odour

McDavid 6446 HEX Padded Compression Leg Sleeve Review

The McDavid 6446 HEX padded compression leg sleeve features a 9mm HEX padded area across the knee so is better suited to field sports or workers who need to crawl or kneel whilst doing tasks.

Slightly longer than most compression sleeves the McDavid 6446 HEX incorporates what McDavid call hDc Moisture Management Technology to wick away moisture from the skin with the added benefit of being machine washable. The McDavid HEX although not as suitable for the serious long distance runner as some of the other sleeves in our review is a great knee sleeve for those that also partake in regular field sports.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Hex pad on the knee for protection from impact
  • hDc moisture wicking technology
  • A slightly smaller fit than most

Copper Compression Recovery Knee Brace/Sleeve Review

Great support and odour prevention are the stand out features of the Copper Compression Recovery sleeve.

The Copper Compression Recovery Sleeve has some of the highest claimed copper content of its nylon based compression sleeve which is said to greatly enhance the odour beating properties of the knee sleeve. If you intend to wear your knee sleeve for long periods this may be the one for you. Popular among active people and people with chronic knee conditions as something that can be worn all day whilst either at work or play whilst still allowing a full range of motion without pinching.

There may be a little bit of stretch over time so it is generally recommended to choose the next size down for a snug fit.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Highest Copper content for odour control
  • Unisex
  • Extremely comfortable

Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeve Review

The ​Rehband 7mm knee sleeve is quite thick and is better suited to athletes in strength and power sports or the average fitness competitor rather than a die hard competitive runner.

The classic Rehband 7mm sleeve is a long time favorite amongst athletes in strength and power sports and is even IPF and IWF approved for use in competition. It offer strong support for knees during strenuous activities and at 7mm has less range of motion available than the other sleeves reviewed in our best knee brace review. Still a great neoprene knee sleeve. 

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Anatomical shape
  • Preventive and recovery effect
  • Great for support and stability under heavy load 
  • Thick 7mm support all around

Futuro Moisture Control Knee Support Review

The main selling point of the Futuro Moisture Control Knee support is its moisture wicking abilities. Allowing excess moisture to drawn away from the skin can mean a huge difference in comfort levels whilst wearing a knee support for extended periods of time especially if under clothes in hot weather. Although the Futuro Moisture Control is technically a knee sleeve it does have the added bonus of having additional straps above and below the knee. Combined with the open patella design the additional straps give a lot more support than a standard knee sleeve. 

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Moisture wicking polartec material
  • Upper and lower straps for better stability than most knee sleeves
  • Open patella design for kneecap support

Best Knee Brace

Knee braces offer greater lateral support over a simple knee sleeve. However some knee braces are sleeve like in their design but they usually have wrap around straps and the addition of pins or support wires that offer superior support over a simple knee compression sleeve. This type of knee support is generally suitable for minor injuries such as ligament strains but should not be used for chronic knee injuries or ones that require specific lateral support throughout the knee joint in that scenario it is better to use a hinged knee brace that can restrict the plane of motion. Knee braces have an advantage over knee sleeves in that the are usually adjustable and can come with in an open patella design. The adjustability can increase the comfort levels greatly for a wearer especially in the case of a swollen knee joint. The open patella design can add greater stability to the knee cap and can be a good knee brace for meniscus injury. A meniscus knee brace should always have an open patella design and be easily adjustable. These style of knee braces along with knee sleeves can be worn for longer periods of time and are also used by people that are required to stand for long periods of time at work, with the added benefit better blood flow and warmth around the knee joint. However a knee brace should not be worn for excessive lengths of time, it's better to wear it only when needed and not all day everyday. A knee brace for running should never be worn so tight so as to restrict blood flow or result in a numb feeling in the legs. The best knee brace for running is the one that allows for maximum support and great comfort.

Knee Brace Buying Guide

Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Knee Support Review

Although the Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Knee support is technically a sleeve it is however tightened via three velcro belts similarly to a traditional knee brace.

It's open patella design can help relieve pressure on the kneecap and the added patella stabilizer helps to hold the patella in the correct position even during the most demanding of sports. It is available in one size only but is fully adjustable via three velcro straps so getting a snug fit should not be an issue. The neoprene material has moisture vents spread  throughout to maintain a constant temperature. One of the best knee brace for running.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • One size fits 12.5"-18" adjustable

Winzone Knee Brace Support Review

Next in our list of best knee braces is the Winzone Knee brace which features an open patella design and is designed for support during activities

The Winzone knee support band can be used both for all day use and during sporting activities. Its lightweight design means it does not interfere during running or basketball and yet is slight enough to be worn under loose fitting clothing without being overly noticeable. 

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Open patella
  • Lightweight design

Compressions Neoprene Knee Brace Support Review

Fits easily and securely with high quality velcro straps. The addition of steel side stays help lateral stability and support and can help piece of mind during running. The lightweight and durable neoprene material is easily washable and breathable. The best knee brace for compression.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Steel spring side stays
  • Open patella
  • Durable, lightweight design

EzyFit Knee Brace Review

The high quality construction of the Ezyfit neoprene knee brace gives great support thanks to its strong velcro support closure system and the double stitching used throughout. The stability of the knee is reinforced by quadruple side stabilizers and the brace is held in place for maximum comfort due to non-slip silicone strips that are top and bottom. A high quality runner's knee brace.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Quadruple side stabilizers
  • Durable construction
  • Silicon anti-slip strips

Tech Ware Pro Knee Brace Review

The TechWare Pro knee brace is a wraparound knee brace in the traditional sense built from durable moisture wicking neoprene. Its open patella design has the added benefit of non-slip silicone strips and also four flexible spring stabilizers to enhance lateral support across the knee joint.  A great knee brace for running.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Large:        14"-19"
  • X Large     19"-24"

Exodus Knee Brace Support Protector Review

The Exodus  EX-701 Performance stabilizing knee brace is a runner's knee brace which is great for patella issues as it features two smaller straps close to the kneecap for greater patella support which means you effectively get a patella band built into the knee brace. The materials used offer greater comfort than most knee braces and the open gap design at the rear of the knee means less pinching on the skin. One of the best knee braces for running.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • One size max 20"

Best Knee Strap

Knee straps are often referred to as knee bands, jumpers bands/straps, patella knee brace or patellar bands/straps. Their primary use is to apply pressure to the patella tendon and are useful when you have one of the following issues: patella tendonitis(jumpers knee), runners knee(Patella Femoral Syndrome) or any kind of mild pain around the kneecap or anterior knee issues. The compression around the kneecap can help increase blood flow to the area and a patella brace may also increase the stability of the patella which may help to increase the tracking of the patella across the knee joint. Knee straps come in single or double configuration. The single style knee band is suitable for the majority of cases outlined above. The double knee band however has the added benefit of above the patella support which can greatly help with Iliotibial band syndrome(ITBS), this could be the best knee strap. In general there is very little difference in the design of the single or double knee strap with the exception of the additional above knee band found on the double band.

Knee Strap Buying Guide

Mueller Jumper's Knee Strap Review

The Mueller knee strap is constructed of 80% Neoprene and 20% Nylon. It is designed to apply a uniform pressure on the patella tendon as a relieve from patella tendonitis. It aims to improve patella tracking by directing the pressure specifically on the patella tendon right below your kneecap. One of the best knee straps for running.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • One size, velcro adjusted

Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Strap Review

The Cho-Pat Dual action knee band features both above and below the knee support. Each strap applies pressure to the tendon above and below the knee whilst also adding additional stabilization of the kneecap as a whole. The pressure that the patella brace enforces on the patella tendon absorbs and disperses pain causing forces that are commonly felt from excessive running and jumping and the likelihood of patella tendonosis that these activities can produce. 

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • ​X Small:     10-12"
  • Small:          12-14"
  • Medium:    14-16"
  • Large:          16-18"
  • X Large:     18-20"
  • XX Large:  20-22"

Mueller Max Knee Strap Review

The Mueller knee strap like the Cho-Pat dual action knee strap above features a dual strap configuration, with one above and below the knee. The lower strap targets the patella tendon whilst the upper target quadriceps misalignment.  The addition of compression tubes on either side of the Mueller knee strap to the patella brace assist in patella tracking and alignment.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Upper and lower straps
  • Side compression tubes
  • Mesh fabric at rear for breathability

Pro-Tec Athletics Knee Patellar Tendon Strap Review

The Pro-Tec Athletics Knee Patellar Tendon strap is a little more lightweight than the previous straps in our review and as such is only suitable for minor bouts of tendonitis.  It is constructed of high quality neoprene and features tubes running through the strap to add a comfortable consistent compression all the way around.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Tubular design
  • Constant compression
  • Lightweight

McDavid 414 Patella Knee Strap Review

The McDavid Knee strap is a patella strap that features a non-slip buttress with a tubular design that aims to provide constant uniform compression across the patellar tendon. It comes with a hook and loop closure system which allows easy adjustment of the strap. One of the best knee straps.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Hook and loop closure
  • Tubular design

Ipow 2 Pack Knee strap Review

The Ipow Knee strap features a segmented design that allows for easy adjustment relative to the shape of the curve of your patella. Available in one adjustable size they can be worn for long periods of time as patella support but probably not suited for heavy sports use or long endurance events.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Flexible slims
  • Segmented design

Best Hinged Knee Brace

Hinged knee braces can sometimes be referred to as an ACL brace or ACL knee brace. Hinged knee braces are most suitable when the injury to the knee goes beyond a light ligament strain, an ACL brace is of most use when a serious injury has occurred that requires some lateral stabilization of the knee joint. A hinged knee brace can contain metal bars or pins that run down the length of the brace from the hinge this helps to add lateral or sideways support. An knee brace for ACL is commonly used by athletes whilst recovering from a major knee injury and as such are used mostly to reinforce the knee joint and to help prevent a reoccurance of the original injury.

Hinged Knee Brace Buying Guide

Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Brace with Bilateral Hinges Review

The Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee support is constructed with bilateral support hinges and also features tempered aluminum stays to greatly increase knee stability and support following a knee injury. The open patella design incorporates extra material around the patella for maximum support and alignment. It is anatomically pre-curved to reduce   pinching on the back of the knee, this area features a lycra mesh so as to enhance breathability and joint mobility. A great ACL brace and one of the best hinged knee braces. 

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • X-fit strap system
  • Bilateral support and aluminum stays
  • Finger tabs for easy on/off
  • Vented neoprene for better moisture wicking

Shock Doctor 872 Knee Brace with Dual Hinges Review

The Shock Doctor 872 ACL Knee Brace's construction is similar to the 875 above, however it it has a conically shaped upper strap and the same X-Fit lower strap as the 875. It is constructed of the same high quality materials as the 875. However, the 872 is better suited to medial stability than the 875. A great patella knee brace.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Enhanced medial support
  • Hyperextension stops
  • Stability stays

McDavid 422 Knee Brace with Dual Disk Hinges Review

The McDavid 422 Knee Brace with Dual Disk Hinges is one of the most advanced hinged knee brace available for the sporting community. It features independently articulated sidearms that is extremely lightweight. As with any ACL brace it is best not worn for an extended period of time as you may feel a slight numbness in the lower legs it standing for prolonged periods. A good knee brace for meniscus injury. One of the best hinged knee braces.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Independently articulated sidearms
  • Cushioned hyperextension stops
  • Perforated at back of the knee

McDavid 429x Hinged Knee Brace with Cross Straps Review

The McDavid 429X Hinged Knee Brace features bi-lateral geared polycentric hinges which provide maximum medial and lateral stability for the knee joint. The straps are elasticated which can be use to increase compression around the knee joint. It is an open patella design with added patella support to keep the kneecap centrally aligned. Extremely well made it has very strong stitching used throughout and bound edges that allow for minimized irritation on the user skin. Suitable as an acl knee brace or an mcl knee brace.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Small:           12-14"
  • Medium:    14-15"
  • Large:          15-17"
  • X Large:      17-20"
  • XX Large:   20-22"

Mueller Hg80 Hinged Knee Brace Review

The Mueller Hg80 Hinged Knee brace is designed to reduce lateral movement due to its triaxial hinges and Tibial Containment System. It's advanced HydraCinn fabric wicks away moisture and with an added antibacterial barrier can greatly help to reduce odour. The Mueller knee brace also has a secondary shell that adds maximum support for the patella, whilst the overall design is anatomically shaped to provide great comfort. A good MCL knee brace.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • HydraCinn fabric
  • Tibial Containment system
  • Added patella stability

NEO G Stabilized Hinged Open Knee Support Review

The Neo G Stabilized Hinged knee support is FDA registered as a Class 1 medical device. It has a two point geared hinged system that allows for constant control over knee flexion and lateral movement. The breathable neoprene construction has an adjustable three strap configuration and an open patella design for maximum patella tracking and stability. Its more of a knee brace to use during rehabilitation rather than during running or sporting activities.

  • Sizes
  • Features
  • Open patella
  • Two point hinge system
  • Good thermal properties


The Knee Joint

The knee joint acts as a hinge between the thigh bone(femur) and the shin bone(tibia). The contracting of the quadriceps muscle straightens the knee joint and the contracting of the hamstring muscles bends the knee joint back on itself. There is also a smaller joint on the top of the femur called the patellofemoral joint this is a comparatively smaller joint just where the patella(kneecap) sits on top of the femur.

knee-anatomy

Where the patella, femur and tibia come together there is a lining of cartilage to act as a lubricant and as a shock absorber, the joint is held together with ligaments that ensure the correct alignment of the knee and the stability. 

The cartilage contained in the knee is called the menisci and is made up of the medial(inside) and the lateral(outside) meniscus.

The main ligaments of the knee are:​

  • The PCL(Posterior Cruciate Ligament) inside of the joint
  • The ACL(Anterior Cruciate Ligament)  inside of the joint
  • The LCL(Lateral Collateral Ligament)​ outside of the knee
  • The Patellofemoral Ligaments which help to hold the kneecap in place.

Types of Knee Injuries

Pain in the knee can come from a variety of sources, some form of ligament strain, arthritis,  meniscal injury or an issue with the patellofemoral joint.

Medial Collateral Ligament(MCL) injury:​

  • ​Usually caused by some form of blunt trauma(blow or knock).
  • Often happens in field sports that contain a lot of contact
  • Injury site is the inside of the knee
  • Buckling of the knee under lateral pressure, can be accompanied by an audible pop at the point of impact.
  • A good MCL knee brace is one that is hinged

Lateral Collateral Ligament(LCL) injury:

  • ​Opposite of MCL injury, trauma to the inside of the knee causing the outside to stretch where the LCL is located and can result in stretching or full tear of the ACL
  • Usually the result of impact or excessive twisting
  • Swelling and feeling of instability of the knee on the outer side
  • A good LCL knee brace is one that is hinged

Posterior Cruciate Ligament(PCL) injury:

  • ​Located in the inside of the knee joint
  • Usually injured via a direct impact to the front of the knee, for example in a car crash

Anterior Cruciate Ligament(ACL) injury:

  • ​Usually the ACL is torn via a twisting motion
  • Like the PCL above can be accompanied with knee swelling

Runner's Knee

Runner's knee is the common name for "Patella Femoral Syndrome" or sometimes anterior knee pain. It is generally used to describe a condition where the movement of the kneecap has been changed from its natural track thus resulting in pain in the knee. It tends to be most prevalent in amateur runners and can be caused by a number of issues sometimes more than one at a time adding to the issue. It generally comes on gradually over time and is rarely due to some specific event. The kneecap sits in the trochlear groove on the front of the femur, issues arise when the tracking of the patella no longer matches this natural groove. Runner's knee can be caused by several issue such as: foot position, choice of running shoe, muscular imbalance, muscle tightness, overuse and general abuse and wear and tear from excessive training without following any kind of recovery programme.

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